Saturday, 23 March 2013

Take 1 Cubbyhouse Add Volunteers To Make 1 Chook House

Busy day at the Western Region Environmental Centre in Wyndham Vale today.   Yet another workshop which is part of the Growing Communities Complete Wyndham Food Gardener Workshops sponsored by Wyndham City Council.  What a mouthful for a name!  They should look at my post of acronyms and shorthand and come up with something catchy and shorter. 
Its great to meet each month with like minded people with a similar interest in making our home gardens part of our food chain.   Today workshop was again run by Shoestring Gardening and Craig from Edible Gardens. (See Links Below)

At no time during my journey down this path to being more self sufficient could i have imagined doing so without having my own chickens?  Not only are they great composters of food scraps and garden waste but suppliers of manure, yummy organic eggs and a whole lot of entertainment. Its all Win Win Win with chooks.  However, before you can consider having chickens you must consider housing them and so of course my mind has started that never ending process (seemingly) of planning the ultimate chicken coop.

Another option for those who want something more mobile is a chicken tractor.  This is a smaller yard with wheels at one end and a pair of handles at the other so that you move the chooks around for fresh feed or perhaps over a finished bed to clean it up before preparing for next season.  Like i said, its all win win win with chooks.
 For more designs on coops and tractors, check out the gallery on this site.

The day started, as all council sponsored programs should, with Craig explaining the by-laws in Wyndham regarding the keeping of chickens.  In Wyndham we are allowed 6 only that includes no roosters.  Sorry boys, but if you persist in making as much noise as possible and making a nuisance of yourselves then there's no choice but to give you the chop.  Can we do this with husbands and noisy teenage boys too?  Only joking, my wonderful husband came with me today and was most helpful, amusing and interested. 
Note that other councils have different limits so check with them first.  Chicken coops also need to be 1.5m from the fence line and no higher than 2m.

Its a good idea to check with neighbours to see if there will be any objections but you will probably find that since you are not having a rooster it will be OK.  In fact, mine already have their hand out for eggs.  I suggest that you always be mindful of making sure that your coop is clean and that there is no odour that might offend. 

Today was an exercise in repurposing an existing children's cubbyhouse situated in the middle of the back yard.  Its presence has been a constant irritation to the Shoestring ladies.  The vision is to create a place that can be used for educational purposes for school and community groups by demonstrating a working backyard garden that incorporates the principles of organic gardening and being eco friendly by reusing, recycling and repurposing materials.

As you can see it is very intrusive and creates a lot of lost space. 
It had to be moved to the other end of the yard and resized so the first job was to remove as much weight as possible by removing the vertical slats and flooring, chopping the legs to accommodate the 2m height restriction and then using the combined people power of those in attendance to carry it to its final resting place.  At some point, everyone was contributing by either hammering, unscrewing and removing planks or storing them for recycle.   Of course, while all this is going on there is much laughter and chatter and valuable tips and information passed along to the beginners.  Craig is a wealth of knowledge and experience on seemingly every topic related to DIY and gardens and is very generous and patient when dealing with novices.  This guy deserves a halo (just make it tight because he's cheeky)!

Hubby sitting down on the job                                                  All Hands On Deck

Throughout the day there was plenty of mentoring on how to use power tools safely (including power saws), measuring and levelling, cutting tin with shears (did you know they come in left and right hand) and OH&S for the DIY.  Although it was not completed, we achieved a great deal and we all went home feeling warm and fuzzy and having learnt a great deal.

 DIY Class  - Use of Power Saw                                  Many Hands Make Light Work

From this to....


On the other two sides is bird wire.  Chicken wire is not actually best for a chicken coop.  The holes are two large and small birds and pests can get in to feed or spread disease.  The recommended wire is bird wire which has smaller holes or better still wire mesh as it is longer wearing, stronger and also has a smoother finish.

Wire Mesh used in the shelves of the  green house also ideal for chicken coop/yard.

Site Supervisor, banned from site for wearing inappropriate footwear - Smart Girl!
The next course on 21st April is on Keeping Chickens and between now and then Craig will complete the structure and yard so that we will be in a position to have some feathered friends on hand. I am very much looking forward to it. 

If you would like any more information about the courses please contact Shoestring Gardening via or Craig from Edible Gardens via  .

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land Of Oz


  1. Awesome! Looks like you've learned a heap there and I look forward to your plans coming together and seeing you move your girls in to your garden and little piece of permy paradise. :) And nice 1 on hubby coming with you.

  2. This is great! Makes me want to get our coop finished. Our girls are coming mid-April, so we'll need to get on it - as soon as this crappy weather breaks.

  3. Please be aware of foxes in WyndhamVale. Make sure all sides have a skirt of wire.I lost my girls in October to a fox, it killed the 4, badly injured 1, and 1 was nowhere to be found, I assume that was dinner.

    1. So sorry to hear, that must have been awful. The chook house we built at the Eco centre will be surrounded by a fenced yard that will have recessed wire and i think also a trench of gravel below ground level. Thanks for your advice. My own property is in Hoppers Crossing near Hogans Corner and i have 5 neighbours around me. I think im going to do the gravel trench as well.


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